In the wake of Andy Dalton‘s broken right thumb – widely thought to be a season-ender – the Bengals are considering their options at quarterback. The Bengals have reached out to both Ryan Mallett and Christian Ponder as they look for QB support, a league source told PFT.
At present, A.J. McCarron is the only other quarterback on the active roster and therefore is slated to take over as the starter. The Bengals also have Keith Wenning on the taxi squad and he seems like a candidate for promotion, but one that would be largely unproven should the injury bug bite McCarron. Last year’s No. 2 QB Jason Campbell could, theoretically, also get a call, but he has made it clear that he is staying retired.
Dalton will assuredly miss next week’s contest against the 49ers, and even in a best case scenario, he’ll likely miss the following week’s game against Denver. That contest, which had always loomed large on the schedule, has taken on extra importance as both clubs vie for those top two seeds. If Dalton misses the remainder of the regular season, he’ll also be be out for Cincinnati’s final regular season game against division foe Baltimore.
The man tasked with guiding the Bengals through that gauntlet in the absence of Dalton will be McCarron, Cincinnati’s fifth-round pick in last year’s draft. The 25-year-old didn’t play a single snap last season (and notably, was unable to even practice, having been relegated to the non-football injury list all year), and until this week, had seen just three snaps in relief of Dalton. Against the Steelers today, McCarron completed 22 of 32 attempts for 280 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.